Sound healing is becoming more and more popular. This year, I have been to two events that feature sound baths, but I have seen countless others advertised. I am here for it. It’s soothing and creates a really unique experience. However, playing a singing bowl has always seemed intimidating. I used to work in a holistic health center and would mess around when new ones came in. I couldn’t quite get the hang out it. Since then, I’ve learned that mass produced versus handmade makes all the difference. After lusting for my own singing bowl for a long time, I finally found a beautiful handmade one, and it is pure magic.
Are singing bowls new to you? Let me break it down…
What is a singing bowl?
Musically, singing bowls are considered a bell due to their shape. You can play them two ways – hitting it like a gong or make them sing by running a wooden mallet around the rim. Depending on the size and shape of the bowl, different sounds can be created. Mine plays a B note when struck, which aligns with the crown chakra (more on that later), and F when singing, for the heart chakra.
According to Tibetan tradition, singing bowls date back to the time of the Buddha.
What are they used for?
These bowls create music/sound that brings you into a deep meditative state. The sounds and vibrations created help balance the chakras, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and increase mental clarity with left to right brain synchronization, among many other things. They positively affect our nervous and immune systems and promote holistic healing.
Singing bowls are a great technique of energy healing. Here’s how to think about it – everything has a frequency, including what’s inside of you. Sometimes these frequencies can get out of tune, like any musical instrument. When that happens, energy is blocked, which can manifest physically. The vibrations of a singing bowl can restore and optimize the flow of energy into the parts that are in disarray. We are healthy, body and mind, when everything is in tune and vibrating harmoniously.
Similarly, the sound waves can correct the frequency of an unbalanced chakra. Here are the notes associated with each one:
- Root – C
- Sacral – D
- Solar Plexus – E
- Heart – F
- Throat – G
- Third Eye – A
- Crown – B
There’s also some interesting research out there about singing bowls and alpha & theta brain waves. So I don’t butcher the information, I recommend looking at this article if you want to read more about that.
How do you play one?
A key element to playing a singing bowl is to make sure you are holding it correctly. You want it placed only on your palm, with your fingers out stretched. If they wrap up the sides of the bowl, you’ll constrict the vibrations. Each bowl should come with a wooden mallet that you will use to play it. Some are wooden only and some have one end that’s wrapped in leather. I have used both sides on mine. They both work beautifully. I find the wood side gets the bowl singing faster and louder, but I prefer the sweetness of the leather end.
As I said above, you can simply strike the bowl like a gong. It’s easy and the sound lasts for quite a long time, about 10-15 seconds.
Now to make your bowl sing, I initially saw people striking the bowl and then running the mallet around the rim. That’s not wrong, but since doing a little research and experimenting first hand, a good singing bowl should start to play without having to hit it first. All you need to do is hold the bowl in your non-dominant palm and use the mallet with your dominant hand to circle the rim. Move at a consistent speed with firm, even pressure. And that’s it! It make take a few times around to make it work, but your bowl should start singing in no time.
If your bowl won’t play, try applying more pressure.
I’ve noticed for myself that there’s one spot that’s trickier for my wrist to move through smoothly. If I tip the bowl slightly towards my mallet hand, the circle is completed without any interruptions and I have no problem with the sound.
If the sound turns into more of a rattle, the wall of the bowl is vibrating so much that the mallet is bouncing off and on. Take the mallet away and let the vibration calm down before going back in.
My bowl is from Shanti Bowl and I couldn’t be happier with it. The owners are so kind, the bowls are gorgeous, and they are incredibly affordable.
Do you have any other questions? Let me know in the comments!